WR Sammy Watkins from Clemson has been a great playmaker in his college career, putting up solid statistics and electrifying the crowd with acrobatic grabs. He will likely be considered the best WR prospect in the 2014 NFL Draft, which should have him going before the Detroit Lions‘ draft pick at the No. 10 spot.
Everyone knows the Lions need another receiver to take the heat off Calvin Johnson and to give Matthew Stafford more options in a pass-heavy offense. That being said, Watkins is not the answer.
Could Watkins be a great receiver in the NFL? Absolutely. The reason why I don’t think the Lions should trade up for Watkins is because he’s not already a great receiver in the NFL. The Lions would have to pay some serious dollars, and likely give up either more draft picks or a veteran player to get Watkins. There’s a great stable of proven receivers available for free agency this year, and since the Lions need a receiver they can count on right away, all their focus should be on getting a solid veteran receiver.
The Lions have a chance to steal a page out of the New England Patriots‘ winning handbook by doing their homework and snagging a great player through free agency that can help the team win right now. The Lions have to think like that, because the window of opportunity is closing fast.
In fact, the Lions could steal directly from the Patriots and snag Julian Edelman, a proven receiver that knows how to get open and score touchdowns. He can run out of the slot position or as a No. 2 receiver, and his style would be perfect for Stafford. Picture Stafford rolling away from pressure and slinging a side arm pass to Edelman, who expertly finds open space in the flat, and the Lions pick up a key first down on third and long.
The point is, the Lions can do well with the pick they have now, and should strive for proven talent through free agency instead of giving up anything extra for a young player who hasn’t proven anything yet. Even if Watkins becomes a great player, receivers rarely become great in their first or even their second seasons. A guy like Edelman can come to the team and help the Lions get to the playoffs in 2014.